October 6, 2016

Under New Host Chris Thile,
Relaunch Is Rich in NEC Performers

With the October 15 episode of A Prairie Home Companion, Nickel Creek mandolinist Chris Thile takes over from Garrison Keillor as the show's host. While Thile understandably is the headline of this closely watched reboot, there have also been rumblings about the explosion of NEC talent that has emerged on this show, and that will be prominently featured beginning with this first episode.

Thile has announced an updated house band for the show that includes official "duet partners," Sarah Jarosz '13 and Aoife O'Donovan '03 Dip., both of them already frequent guests on the show.

Wondering what it means to have "duet partners" as part of a house band? Here's a show on "How to Sing with Others" from earlier this year, hosted by Chris Thile and featuring Jarosz and O'Donovan.




Here's a listener's/viewer's guide to NEC artists currently on the show.

After meeting while students at NEC in the early 2000s, Lake Street Dive has catapulted to stardom. The foursome—vocalist Rachael Price '07, trumpet/guitar player Mike Olson '05, stand-up bassist Bridget Kearney '08 Tufts/NEC, and drummer Mike Calabrese '07—are special guests on the October 15 show. They previously appeared on the show in 2012 (Show #1336, Show #1359).

John Hodgman '87 Prep is special guest on the October 22 show. The dour comic says, "I am thrilled to travel to ST PAUL, Y'ALL to perform on A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION, hosted by the incomparable Chris Thile. All my public radio dreams are coming true."

Sarah Jarosz first appeared on the show in 2011 (Show #1285) and has been a frequent guest since.

Her affiliations with the show's hosts, old and new, were seen during this transition year in her appearance on Chris Thile's American Acoustic Show at the Kennedy Center and with Garrison Keillor and many of his other duet partners at the Hollywood Bowl. In 2015 she joined Keillor's "America the Beautiful" Tour in more than two dozen cities.

Heather Masse '04, a member of The Wailin' Jennys, has appeared frequently on the show since 2005, both on her own and with the Jennys. An October 2013 episode (Show #1570) featuring Masse was rebroadcast October 1. Here's a 2009 interview about her background and history with the show.

Aoife O'Donovan first appeared on the show in 2012 (Show #1337) and has been a frequent guest since.






The Archive site for "A Prairie Home Companion" offers audio clips, photos, scripts, and guest information from every performance going back to 1996. The show itself began in 1974. In 1981, there was a live broadcast from NEC's Jordan Hall that is included on the Tourists album. Based on information in the Archives, other NEC alumni and faculty who have appeared on the show include: